Howard County Times: Residents, leaders vie for funding at Howard County budget hearing

The Howard County Times’ coverage of the county executive’s first FY19 budget hearing included advocates’ request for Bikeway funding.

Read:  Residents, leaders vie for funding at Howard County budget hearing

Several community members and local advocates spoke out about the need for greater funding for the county’s proposed Bikeway and other bike lanes. Chris Tsien, chief legal and financial officer for Bicycling Advocates of Howard County, testified at the hearing, saying the county’s bike lanes were woefully underfunded in comparison to surrounding counties.

In fiscal 2018, Montgomery County spent more than $23 million on bike path funding, and Anne Arundel spent in excess of $6 million, while Howard spent just $600,000 on funding for new bike projects. 

Editorial: Keeping Bike Howard in motion

The Howard County Times editorial board issued its own commentary and cartoon in the May 24, 2017, issue urging investment in bicycle routes and implementing the county’s Bicycle Master Plan.

Read: Keeping Bike Howard in motion

bikehoward-20170524 cartoon

 

For the most part, Howard’s elected leaders have supported the concept of a bike network and funding has been included in the county’s budget for planning and operations.

There’s a risk, however, that incremental funding could be an easy target for elimination in tight budget years and expansion could be stalled if the program falls off the priority list.

Howard County Times: Roll-out of Howard County’s bikeway at risk, advocates say

The Howard County Times highlighted advocates’ concerns about the county’s budgeting for bicycle infrastructure in this story from April 7, 2017.

Read: Roll-out of Howard County’s bikeway at risk, advocates say

A little over a year ago, bicycling advocates celebrated a major victory when local lawmakers inked a master plan for a biking network and investment in bike infrastructure over the next 30 years.

But now, advocates say a 50-mile network, which is a part of the overall plan, is already hitting roadblocks.

Op-ed: Bikeway is a win-win for Columbia

The Howard County Times published an op-ed on March 8, 2017, by Horizon Foundation CEO Nikki Highsmith Vernick calling on the county to fully fund and build the Bikeway.

Read: Bikeway is a win-win for Columbia

More work remains if we are to ensure a truly bike-friendly and walk-friendly environment that embodies the groundbreaking vision of this community and looks toward the future. This is why nearly 1,000 people and 14 organizations, including business, environmental and health groups, have called on county leaders to build a 50-mile core network of bike routes across Howard County called the Bikeway. 

Howard County Times: Bicyclists seek county funding for ‘Bikeway’ network during first Howard budget hearing

The Howard County Times’ Dec. 15, 2016, coverage of the county’s first budget hearing featured the request for the Bikeway.

Read: Bicyclists seek county funding for ‘Bikeway’ network during first Howard budget hearing

On Wednesday evening, the Horizon Foundation, Howard County Chamber of Commerce, Columbia Association and Howard County General Hospital were among several organizations to submit testimony supporting the Bikeway proposal. The County Council unanimously passed the Bike Howard master plan in April to provide bicyclists and pedestrians with a safer network of pathways that navigate commercial and residential areas.